Integration needs escalate as enterprises ramp up ESBs, seek to join SaaS and legacy

Some 23 percent of software decision-makers have already implemented enterprise application integration software, and another 19 percent are currently expanding or upgrading their implementation according to new Forrester data examining integration trends.

Integration will remain a high priority in 2011, according to Forrester analyst Ken Vollmer, as virtually all enterprise application delivery projects require significant integration among applications, internal data sources, external trading partners, and more and more frequently, external data resources.

 

“Enterprises are seeking a lean, mean, and more holistic approach to integration, doing more real-time integration and planning increased use of enterprise service buses (ESBs) and data services platforms,” notes Vollmer.

In the survey, 58 percent of respondents have adopted ESBs, and another 32 percent are considering adoption. What else will drive integration? The need to integrate on-premises apps with software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps is affecting requirements—31 percent of respondents are planning to adopt SaaS within one year or more, said Vollmer.

The challenge, then, is not just middleware integrations amid a more complex and dynamic environment, but of integrating more types of services and resources from more places by more people. The bottleneck of IT-administered integrations based on installed integration platforms does not seem up to this task. The integration requirements need to shift right along with the elements that support “boundaryless” processes.

Reacting to these trends, Workday recently delivered a set of cloud-based integration capabilities to its partner ecosystem and growing stable of SaaS ERP users. [Disclosure: Workday is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Early advocacy of iPaaS


An early advocate for the "integration as a service" concept, Workday is delivering on that vision in a way that could rapidly broaden its appeal beyond human resources management (HRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) and into more general cloud services. The strong integration capabilities bolsters the appeal of Workday's applications services, draws in more service partners, and sets the stage for providing wider integration capabilities.

While business-to-business integration is a key requirement for how companies support their employees -- with complex interactions across suppliers for payroll, benefits, and recruitment -- the data and access control in human resources systems proves an essential ingredient for making general integrations become more automated and safe. The new cloud integration services and tools allow customers and partners to build, deploy, run and manage custom integrations for the numerous systems and applications.

It's time that agile integration become a feature of more applications, rather than a hand-crafted after-market exercise at the complex database and middleware tiers. And if that can happen quicker and better as a cloud-based iPaaS model, I'm all for it.

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About the Author
Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Ga...
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